As More Americans Face Alzheimer's, What's The Value Of An Early Diagnosis? | Connecticut Public Radio

As More Americans Face Alzheimer's, What's The Value Of An Early Diagnosis?

Mar 19, 2019

Today, there are 5.8 million Americans who are impacted by Alzheimer’s disease. That number is expected to grow by more than half.

Yet how do we know the right questions to ask to get a timely diagnosis in order to plan for the future? We hear from advocates who want to see additional training for primary care physicians so they recognize the signs of dementia earlier.

This hour, we talk with doctors, caregivers, and researchers. And we want to hear from you. Do you have an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, or are you taking care of a loved one with dementia?

African Americans and other minorities suffer from higher rates than white Americans, yet Alzheimer's researchers have far less data on minority patients. We'll talk with a researcher who is trying to help address the data deficiency and better understand this disparity.

Join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter.


  • Christy Kovel - Interim Executive Director and Director of Public Policy at the Connecticut Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association (@christykovel)
  • Dr. Kristina Zdanys - Geriatric psychiatrist; director of the Geriatric Mental Health Clinic, and Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at UConn Health
  • Dick Helstein - Caregiver; his wife Sue has been living with an Alzheimer’s diagnosis for five years
  • Dr. Lisa Barnes - Professor and cognitive neuropsychologist at the Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center in Chicago (@beyoung40)


Alzheimer’s Association: 2019 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures – “Millions of Americans have Alzheimer’s or other dementias. As the size and proportion of the U.S. population age 65 and older continue to increase, the number of Americans with Alzheimer’s or other dementias will grow…The baby boom generation has already begun to reach age 65 and beyond the age range of greatest risk of Alzheimer’s dementia; in fact, the oldest members of the baby boom generation turn age 73 in 2019”

Chicago Tribune: Lisa Barnes battles burden of Alzheimer's in minorities – “‘African-Americans have a higher burden of many kinds of diseases,’ she said, ‘but we know that they also seem to be more burdened by Alzheimer's disease, and we're not really sure why that is.’”

Chion Wolf contributed to this show.